Unlocking the Secrets of Your Applicant Tracking System: What Is an ATS and How to Use It

Time to Read: 4.8 minutes

Updated: October 11, 2023

Your organization’s ability to identify, attract, and onboard top talent can make or break your talent acquisition strategy. To be successful, technology can be a valuable tool. Many businesses are finding an Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, to be an indispensable part of their recruitment process. As a result, the ATS market is expected to grow to 2.22 billion by 2027 – but what is an ATS, and how can it transform your recruitment processes?

In this article, we’ll explain how an ATS can help with your hiring needs and reveal the advantages it can offer to your business. Plus, we’ll share some useful insider advice on how to make the most out of your ATS to improve your hiring process.

What Is an Applicant Tracking System?

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software designed to automate and streamline various aspects of the recruitment process. Its primary role is to serve as a centralized database and management tool for all your recruitment-related activities. Now you know what an ATS system is, it’s time to explore what it can do.

ATS systems help HR professionals and hiring managers efficiently organize and track job applications, candidate resumes, and other relevant data. It simplifies candidate sourcing, screening, and selection by allowing recruiters to search for specific qualifications and keywords, saving them valuable time. An ATS can even aid communication between hiring teams and candidates, leading to a more efficient and candidate-centric recruitment experience.

Benefits of an ATS for Your Talent Acquisition

Handing over these tasks to an ATS system can have real benefits for your recruitment and talent acquisition strategy, including:

1. Streamlining the Recruitment Process

ATS systems can automate job posting, resume screening, interview scheduling, and candidate communication, freeing up your HR team to focus on strategic tasks. It can also be used to organize candidate information in one accessible database, simplifying candidate sourcing and reducing duplication efforts, ensuring that vacancies are filled faster.

2. Enhancing Candidate Experience

You can use your ATS to provide personalized status updates and feedback promptly to candidates, providing clarity and transparency throughout the hiring journey. This improved experience not only helps secure top talent by making the organization more responsive and respectful of candidates’ time but also enhances employer reputation and brand. Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to speak favorably about the company, attracting even more top talent and improving your organization’s image as an employer of choice.

3. Improved Hiring Quality

Because an ATS uses predefined criteria to screen and match candidates against job requirements more objectively it reduces the chances of overlooking strong candidates. ATS systems reduce unconscious biases in this way by focusing on qualifications and skills, rather than factors like gender, ethnicity, or age in the early stages of recruitment. This objective approach results in the selection of candidates who truly match the job’s demands, ultimately leading to higher-quality hires and a more diverse and inclusive workforce. However, it’s also important to be mindful of some AI tools in recruitment as questions have arisen on whether they introduce further bias into the process.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making

ATS software compiles and tracks key recruitment metrics, such as time-to-fill, source effectiveness, and candidate drop-off rates. This data-driven insight enables your HR team to assess their recruitment strategies, pinpoint bottlenecks in the hiring process, and identify areas where improvements are needed. By understanding what works and what doesn’t, you can make informed adjustments, refine your recruitment tactics, and ultimately improve the quality of candidates you attract and hire.

Pierpoint’s Top Tips for Making the Most of Your ATS

Even if you’ve been using an ATS for a while, you might not be making full use of its potential. Here at Pierpoint, we’ve a wealth of insider knowledge for how to get the most out of your ATS. Let’s explore some of our favorite tips and tricks:

ATS Customization

Setting up custom workflows means you can tailor the system to your organization’s specific needs and processes. By defining these workflows, you can automate tasks, notifications, and approvals, helping you stay organized, making your recruitment more productive.

Keywords and Search Optimization

When you use relevant keywords in your job descriptions, the ATS can scan and analyze resumes and applications for those same keywords. This allows the system to identify candidates whose qualifications meet with the job requirements and who are a better fit for the role, leading to more successful hires.

Equitable Hiring

By tracking and analyzing candidate data, an ATS can help identify areas of potential bias, ensuring that recruitment efforts are more inclusive. It enables data-driven decisions that prioritize equal opportunities and diverse talent acquisition, fostering a more inclusive workforce.

Training and User Adoption

Proper training ensures your teams make the most of the system’s features, while user adoption improves efficiency. Getting regular feedback from users can help you refine processes and adapt the ATS to better meet organizational needs, resulting in a more efficient and productive recruitment process.

Regular ATS Audits and Updates

Regular checks of your ATS help identify and rectify any inconsistencies or errors in candidate data. Additionally, staying up to date with industry standards ensures that your ATS remains efficient, secure, and compliant. Regularly checking in with your ATS can also alert you to new possibilities – did you know that 20% of businesses are planning to integrate AI into their ATS systems in the next five years?

We hope you’ve found this exploration of what an ATS is and what it can do for your talent acquisition useful. For more advice and support talk to one of our consultants to discuss how Pierpoint’s RPO solution can help your business reach the best possible candidates. Talk to an expert today.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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